Do you want this year to be better? Did your New Year's resolutions include doing better at the office? Most of us focus on personal goals, but shouldn't we think about ways we can improve as managers and business owners? Here are 52 resolutions for the office in 2016. Put them on your list:
1. Start each day with a prayer or other positive, affirming routine. Do this before you turn on your computer or look at your messages.
2. Develop a reasonable pace to work. Starting each week hell-bent-for-leather isn't sustainable.
3. Establish a routine to clear away the weekend cobwebs and get back to real life.
4. Make a list of must-do tasks every morning. Finish each task before moving to less-essential items.
5. Bring a big bowl of fresh fruit for the office. Do this once a month.
6. Turn off your email if possible. Check it twice a day, taking care of only the most pressing matters. Go through the rest of your messages at the end of the day.
7. Reorganize the staff meetings to finish in a half-hour. Yes, it can be done, and your team will love you for it.
8. Dedicate time in the morning and afternoon to make and return phone calls.
9. Pick up the phone instead of emailing whenever possible.
10. Attend one networking event a month, and make it worth your time.
11. Stay off social media during the workday.
12. Touch each piece of paper only once.
13. Read one trade publication a week. Pick out key articles and distribute to your staff.
14. Lead the charge on an office public service event.
15. Force yourself to take breaks. Go outside; clear your head.
16. Take your team to lunch, off-site. Get everyone out of the office. Do this every other month, more often if they are pushing for deadlines.
17. Delegate. No, really delegate. You'll be more productive and your staff will grow professionally.
18. Say something positive to each person you see, every day.
19. Ask each member of your team to come up with ways to save time. Implement them.
20. Embrace one new office technology.
21. Eliminate one procedural step every week.
22. Reach out to clients or contacts you haven't done business with in a year.
23. Thin out the paper at your desk. Keep half of what you think you need.
24. Keep your hands off your cell unless you're answering a call.
25. Clean up your contacts list. Make sure the information is current.
26. Get rid of old technology.
27. Ask each member of your team to develop a greener way to work. Reward the effort and try out the best ideas.
28. Eliminate unnecessary redundancies in your process.
29. Go for a walk every day, weather permitting.
30. Be nice to people who can't help you.
31. Stop talking about work during lunch with colleagues.
32. Give a homeless person a meal. Do this as often as practical.
33. Learn a new skill that makes you a better employee.
34. Send your staff to training seminars. Do this at least twice this year.
35. Provide constructive feedback every day.
36. Take stock of your time-wasters. Eliminate them, one at a time.
37. Clear your desk every day. File unfinished projects.
38. Eat breakfast, every day. A croissant is not breakfast.
39. Organize your workday so you are out of the office by 5. It can be done.
40. Create an agenda for each meeting. Stick to it.
41. Allow your staff to lead meetings.
42. Smile, even when you don't feel like it.
43. Invite honest, anonymous criticism from your staff.
44. Work remotely at least one day a week.
45. Set realistic productivity goals. Adjust weekly.
46. Reduce your use of paper, copiers, and printers.
47. Submit reports electronically whenever possible.
48. Invite your staff to explore new paths within your organization. Feed their passion.
49. Call one potential client each week.
50. Learn to use your firm's client relationship management program.
51. Stop eating lunch at your desk.
52. Be kind, always.
If you make one of these changes each week, and sustain them throughout the year, you will look back at 2016 as the most productive and satisfying year yet, both personally and professionally.